Alex Eala broke out of a tight fix in the first set before ripping Canada’s Katherine Sebov 7-6 (6), 6-2, to make it to the quarterfinals of her first $80,000 competition in the International Tennis Federation Women’s World Tennis Tour’s Rancho Santa Fe event.
The 17-year-old Filipino took complete command in the first game of the second set and pulled away from a 2-2 tie that sealed a showdown with world No. 229 Marcela Zacarias of Mexico on Saturday at 2 am (Manila time).
Zacarias, a seasoned 28-year-old, eliminated Hina Inoue, 6-1, 7-5.
“Amazing match in my first W80k Tournament here at the RSF Open. Thank you to all who cheered in person… and virtually. Tomorrow, QUARTER FINALS!” Eala posted on Facebook. “Laban! Vamos! Allez!”
Eala, the Women’s Tennis Association’s No. 281, has been impressive in her first W80 tournament as she worked her way to the main draw after beating Deniza Marcinkevica of Latvia, 6-1, 6-3, and Alana Smith of United States, 6-0, 6-0, in the qualifying round.
The Filipino nice ousted American Dalayna Hewitt, 6-1, 2-6, 6-0, in the first round.
The Philippines’ first Grand Slam singles winner is eyeing her third professional title since winning a pair of championships in the W15 Manacor last year and the W25 Chiang Rai in Thailand last April.
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